Cover of The Bird of Time by Jane Yolen

Bird of Time, The

This is a straight-forward original fairy tale in which a miller’s son, who has the gift of understanding the speech of animals, finds a bird that can speed time up or slow time down or stop time altogether. With the bird’s help, he rescues a princess from a wicked giant. Interestingly, I began writing the story the day I was told my mother had inoperable cancer. When she read the manuscript, just three months before she died, she knew at once what the story was about and told me. “Intimations of mortality, eh?” she said. The pictures by Mayer are simply wonderful, and that princess (clearly Hungarian) looks as if she’s been up many too many nights fighting off the wicked giant.

Recording: BIRD OF TIME is told by Richard Standard in his storytelling tape, Tales of Sun and Time and Tide.”


  • An AIGA Choice book for 1971-1972

What reviewers have said:

  • “A marvelous story told with wit and elegance, this reads aloud perfectly. And opposite every page is a glowing picture reminiscent of the detailed paintings of Breughel. . .These luminous pages aglow with action and drama will please all ages. …one of the season’s most satisfying read-aloud stories.”—Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel
  • “An original story illustrated with warmly colored, detailed paintings that reinforce the folk elements of the romantic tale.”—Publisher’s Weekly
  • “Told in the manner of a folktale,  this original fantasy is especially useful for storytelling.  . .The concept of time is meaningfully presented and adds dimension to this charmingly illustrated tale.”—School Library Journal
  • “ A modern fairy tale, illustrated with graveyl romantic tempera paintings, is in the true tradition of the genre. . . .The use of time duration is a pleasant variation on a familiar theme, and the story is told with good narrative flow”.–Bulletin of the Children’s Book Center